Papers of Charles Shepard and other residents of the black settlement of Pleasant Ridge (now Beetown), Wisconsin, including letters, tax receipts, and community history. Shepard (Sheppard) was the head of the first African-American family to settle in what became a pioneer black community about five miles west of Lancaster, Wisconsin. In 1848, the family of William Horner, a Haymarket, Virginia planter, moved to Wisconsin, bringing with them their freed slaves: Charles and Caroline Shepard (nee Brent), their three children, Harriet, John and Mary, and Charles' brother Isaac. A woman named Sarah Brown, who was left behind in slavery, later joined this family after Isaac returned to Virginia and paid for the woman's freedom. The two then married. Charles and Isaac left a mother and several brothers and sisters in Virginia who planned on heading west at a later date. Eventually, these individuals migrated to Washington D.C. The letters are chiefly communications between the Shepards in Wisconsin and their relatives in the East. Other letters are those of Thomas and John Greene, other settlers of Pleasant Ridge.
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